The Howells Group Blog

Yearning for Wisdom

Wisdom in leadership

     What’s the most valuable trait for leaders today? Many would probably say intellect, or some might advocate for emotional intelligence; others might cite the need for a deep and wide network of contacts, educational background or pedigree. I would agree with others that courage is pretty high on the list , especially as it appears to be in short supply these days. I think King Solomon got it right when he asked for wisdom above all else. Wisdom combines knowledge with practical experience, sorting through the complex towards the common sense. Wisdom often challenges conventional thought and popular opinion; to see beyond the obvious. A concise definition – “the ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight”.

 Recently, as those of you following my blog know, I’ve been digging deeper about core values at this stage of life. Being a cancer survivor, celebrating another birthday, seeing your only daughter marry and learning to support a young adult son with Cystic Fibrosis all stimulate reflection. For years I honestly thought it was a race to see how much I could achieve in the years I was given. You know – steward my life.; make the most of my short years here on earth. But I’m casting my vote with King Solomon. Living and leading wisely is the ultimate challenge. Though I have as many questions as answers, I think I’m asking the right questions. How can I live and lead wisely? How can I coach others in this crucial pursuit? When is wisdom more important than power? Success? Time? What causes me to chose the foolish or the popular action instead of wise action?

A few weekends ago we spontaneously attended an event with live birds hosted by the Audubon Society. The most beautiful and compelling birds by far were the owls. Their heads actually rotate 360 degrees so they see from all perspectives. They are intense and quiet; one type of owl has feathers that are uniquely suited to hunt in the black of night and fly soundlessly. Their unique ability to see when others are blinded and amazing perspective are characteristics of these amazing birds. No wonder owls are the icon for wisdom.

I’m curious – how does wisdom show up in your life and leadership? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this topic. And take a few minutes to check out this video with luminaries from many disciplines.

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